CONTRIBUTED BY TOMIE HENSON
With Smart Phones a big part of our lives these days, one of the most common questions asked when moving to Turkey is, “Will I be able to use my Smart Phone?” The answer is yes! I never registered my iPhone here so to get the facts straight I asked someone who has. Tomie registered his iPhone once arriving here at Incirlik and answered your most pressing questions about the process.
A: Any phone that can accept a SIM card can be registered. Keep in mind that the first generation iPhone 4 in the USA does not have a SIM card slot; the SIM cards are in the phone and cannot be replaced. You must be able to replace your SIM card in order to register and use your phone in Turkey.
Q: What is the timeline for registering your phone when you arrive in Turkey?
A: You have 30 days to register your phone in Turkey once you arrive.
Q: Where do you go to register your phone and add minutes? How do you do this?
A: To register your phone, you will have to go to the BaseFix kiosk in the BX. They will help you with all of your cell phone customer service needs.
Q: What do you need to register your phone?
A: In order to register your phone, you will need to provide copies of your NATO orders, entry stamp/VISA on the orders, passport, entry stamp/VISA on the passport (for dependents), and a letter from the housing office with your address on it. I used my pre-inspection sheet given to me when I moved in.
Q: How much does it cost initially? Monthly? Per Phone? Roll-over minutes?
A: The registration charge will be $150 dollars per phone. They don’t offer “monthly plans” like we are accustomed to in the States. It is a pre-paid service. They have pre-paid minute packages ranging from $12.99 to $89.99. These minutes will be useable for 90 days at which time you will need to add minutes.
Q: What services do you get when you register it? Data? Cell coverage? Texting?
A: Once the registration is complete and you have activated your new SIM card, you will need to purchase minutes and data plans. The coverage is excellent and the provider is Turkcell, which is the largest provider in Turkey. In addition to purchasing the minutes, if you want to use data/internet with your phone, you will need to purchase a data package. The packages are 4GB for $19.00 and 10GB for $37.50. The data packages are useable for 30 days at which point, you will need to purchase a new data package; the data does not rollover. There is an unlimited text messaging package as well for 11TL (about $5). You will need to mention this to the BaseFix reps at the BX if you want it. The text package is valid for 90 days along with the minutes.
Q: How reliable is the cell service? Data service? Texting?
A: The service is reliable as this is the largest cell phone company in Turkey and the 2nd largest in Europe.
Q: Can you call/text locally? Internationally?
A: You can call/text any number in Turkey with no extra charges. There will be international “long distance” fees for calling or texting anyone outside of Turkey.
Q: Personally, how often do you use the services? On-base? Off-base?
A: I use the service on a daily basis; just as I would anywhere else.
Q: Would you recommend it?
A: Yes. If you have a smart phone, not just an iPhone, I would recommend bringing it with you to register and use. The cell phones here must be purchased outright so you can’t include the phone in a monthly plan and get it cheaper like it the States. Just to give you an idea of the prices, they are currently asking $800 for the iPhone 5c.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As of February 2016, this post has been re-published on our Overseas Yes network site, Germany Ja. We are in the process of transferring all the content of this site over there, and will be shutting Turkey Tamam down once that process is complete. Comments have been closed on this post here, but if you’ve got something to add we’d love to continue the conversation. Please visit this post in its new home on Germany Ja and leave your comment there.